The Web Witch's Blog

20 Months

It has been 20 months since I last stood in front of a group of people and delivered a talk.

What I find even more cruel is that I have given more talks to my webcam than I have in person now. I'm on my way to London for State of the Browser. The last time I gave a talk, I was in front of a group in Newcastle Upon Tyne, delivering the first iteration of the talk I'll be giving. It's hardly the same talk as quite a bit has happened since March 2020.

That was only my 4th time giving a talk, when I was in Newcastle.

This will be the 19th.

I'm not riddled with anxiety like I was with my first talk. The nerves will pop up the evening before and the day of the event, which is normal. I've been told no nerves is generally not a good sign. Having nerves, in my opinion, is respecting the process...everything that goes into making an event happen.

But I'm reminded how far I've come. I staunchly swore, up and down and side to side that I would never, ever give a talk. Public speaking wasn't for me. I once pulled out of a co-presentation because I had a panic attack over it. There were some other outside reasons that culminated in that panic attack, but I digress. It's also heartening to know that others have seen how far I've come.

alt: A Tweet from @kylealden that reads, "just travel back in time to 2017 @seaotta to let her know that speaking at a big event will some day be the easy part"

I've found myself with an abundance of time-sensitive deliverables the past few weeks...which I find uber stressful (on top of dealing with poor mental health because we are still in a pandemic and I am still working from home alone). And yet this event, which came to me a few days into October, has done nothing but excite me and keep me going.

I don't know when the next in-person event I'll get to speak at will be. Spring 2022? Nothing's confirmed right now and as of right now, this is my last talk of the year. (But that'll probably change. Get in touch if you're running an event, virtual or in-person.)

All I do know is I have waited for this moment for a long time. For 20 months to be precise. 20 months that oddly feel like a decade and a blink of an eye. I get to share a stage with people I deeply respect and I get to see friends I haven't seen in person in a long while (or ever met in person, just know from Twitter...and Andy if you're reading this we're getting a dirty kebab.)

I didn't fall in love with speaking in public. I fell in love with sharing knowledge and teaching developers.

And I am so excited I get to restart this journey in London of all places. Let's go.

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